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Memorial Day Ode to US GI’s, by an Iraqi Kurd Translator

U.S troops have sacrificed and assisted people across the world in various ways. Regardless of the political intentions of the leaders in Washington D.C, Americans serving overseas have created a path for many indigent humans in some of the most-impoverished regions in the world. The remarkable generosity of America has resulted in the success and advance of many different ethnicities. To be deployed thousands of miles away from home with the intention of changing people’s lives requires boldness and an enormous sense of humanity. Hence, the bright horizon that the US represents becomes the destination that countless people around the world aim. There is one clear image that appears: it is the integrity of the American soldier.

     Iraq is one of the examples that, without American effort, would have remained a house of tyranny and oppression. It was an unhealable trauma for those who experienced life during the 1980s, 1990s, and until 2003. The people of Iraq have lived through wars, tortures, and oppression until the endeavor of the United States in 2003 that created a tremendous change which created a new history for Iraq. This important transition should be remembered in the pages of history. The main goal of the U.S troops was to assist the people of Iraq and eradicate their oppressive regime.

     The United States military is comprised of dignified Americans, and to them it is not about mere talk like “thank you for your service”, but rather performing acts of universal rights which is about saving innocent people around the globe,  without any thought to political gain. Any simple explanation of the mindset of the military personnel would underestimate their high morality and virtue; their selfless acts have dawned bright for people across the world.

     I am an Iraqi Kurd who served as an interpreter embedded with US forces in the Iraq War. To serve alongside such a remarkable a group who did not have the terms like “fear” and “death”  in their dictionary marked an extraordinary point of my life and added another chapter to my journey. Arriving at Camp Eagle in Iraq in 2004, as a translator of the U.S army, I ascended to a higher level of consciousness and that experience bolstered my belief in America. Heroism does not apply to everyone and heroes cannot be found in every spot of the world, but those who gathered at Camp Eagle in Baghdad fit the bill. The knights of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment (2-5), were challenging the darkness of the nights and living out bravery.

     On the first day I arrived at Camp Eagle, while I was walking toward one of the barracks to settle down, I was greeted with a few mortars. They landed closely, so I had to run back and return to the Civil – Military Operations Center (CMOC), the building that I checked in, to shelter for a  few minutes.  “It is rough here, brother, especially at night,” one of the sergeants told me. Mortars were launching randomly toward the camp from the surrounding neighborhoods. The troops represented life and hope for mankind: they wrote a history book to be taught, a poem to be recited, and a song of freedom to be treasured.

     The living memories of the bravery of those who left but did not die, who went away but did not vanish, have became lights guiding the rest of us. American soldiers, you will always live.

–Serwan Zangana, Roanoke City

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